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May 28, 2003

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MozillaQuest Op-Ed

SCO-Caldera v IBM:

Is SCO Trying to Dictate Linux Kernel and GNU/Linux Development Procedures?

Linux and the SCO-Caldera v IBM Lawsuit

By Mike Angelo -- 28 May 2003 (C) -- Page 5

Kernel.Org and GNU/Linux Developers Have Clean Code Safeguards

Article Index

SCO-Caldera v. IBM:

SCO Clears Linux Kernel but Implicates Red Hat and SuSE

IBM Files Answer to SCO's Caldera v IBM Complaint

IBM Response to SCO-Caldera Complaint Is Outrageous!


SCO-Caldera & the GNU/Linux Community:

Summary and Conclusions

It's normal and reasonable for people and companies to be concerned about unauthorized use of their intellectual property. What is not reasonable and not normal is the way SCO-Caldera is going about protecting its Unix copyrights.

The utter ridiculousness of SCO-Caldera's dictates as to code policing is well-characterized by Richard Stallman's statement:

It is not normal for software projects, whether free or proprietary, to check all the code that is added against some other competing product's source code. You would not consider such a burdensome task unless you have a specific credible reason to believe there is a problem. There is no allegation now that specific code was copied, and thus no reason to think of doing this.

It is quite clear from the discussions reported here today that the Linux community does have procedures in place to guard against unlicensed code leaking into the Linux kernel, the GNU/Linux operating system, and some if not all Linux distributions -- contrary to the FUD (fear, doubt, uncertainty) about this that SCO's CEO Darl McBride has been spreading through the media.

Moreover, all McBride and SCO-Caldera need to do in order to get any SCO-owned code removed from the kernel.org Linux kernel, the GNU/Linux OS, or Linux distributions is simply to tell these people what SCO-owned code is in the Linux kernel, the GNU/Linux OS, or the Linux distributions. It would be removed immediately, if not sooner. However, McBride refuses to disclose what SCO-owned Unix code is in Linux.

Get this through your head McBride. No one in the Linux community wants your proprietary SCO code in Linux!

Interestingly, once McBride and SCO-Caldera identify the alleged SCO-owned Unix code in the kernel.org Linux kernel, the GNU/Linux operating system, and or any Linux distributions it will be removed. That could be a reason that McBride and SCO-Caldera refuse to identify publicly any such alleged code. Once they do, the Linux developers will remove the SCO-Owned code, if any, and McBride and SCO-Caldera no longer will have a rubbery hammer to hang over the heads of the Linux community members and Linux users.

On the other hand, there likely is not any SCO-owned code in the kernel.org Linux kernel or the GNU/Linux operating system. And maybe that is why Darl McBride and SCO-Caldera are refusing to show the alleged code it claims is in Linux publicly. (We do not consider SCO-Caldera's strings-attached offer to show the allegedly purloined code to a private, hand-selected, panel under a DNA to a be bone fide offer to prove anything -- other than SCO-Caldera is acting in bad-faith and cannot be trusted. More about that in an upcoming story.)

Of course as pointed out in last Wednesday's article, Is SCO Trying to Renege on Clearing Linux Kernel ?, SCO has not found its code in the kernel.org Linux kernel or in the GNU/Linux OS. Heck, SCO-Caldera has not even looked at the kernel.org code or the GNU/Linux OS code to see if there is any SCO-owned code there.

SCO's Blake Stowell said last Wednesday:

The only thing we have stated is that we have found our SCO owned code in various Linux distributions (including Red Hat), and in the Linux kernel. We have not reviewed the code found on kernel.org or the GNU/Linux operating system. (Ibid)

Until such time as Darl McBride and SCO-Caldera do list publicly the SCO-owned code it claims is in Linux, Darl McBride's and SCO-Caldera's claims that there is SCO-owned Unix code in Linux ought to be ignored and dismissed as FUD (fear, uncertainty, doubt).

Stay tuned.

Editor's Note:

SCO was afforded an opportunity to respond to, disagree with, refute, and/or comment on the issues raised and the opinions stated in this artice. It failed to do so.

Question Not Answered By SCO

Here is the operative part of our reply to Blake Stowell and the additional questions regarding the code policing issues.

> What Chris Sontag was saying was that "SCO has not identified any current issues with the code that is in the kernel today.

MozillaQuest Magazine: Blake, with all do respect that is not what Chris said in the interview. . . . I think we pretty much have word for word and uncensored what Chris said.

MozillaQuest Magazine: Are you talking about the "official" kernel.org Linux kernel or some other adaptation or hack of the official kernel.org Linux kernel.

MozillaQuest Magazine: Do you mean the kernel code as it exists now or do you mean as of today you have not checked to see if there is any SCO-owned code in the Linux kernel.Or what? Please be precise and specific. :-)

MozillaQuest Magazine: Are you now saying there is SCO-owned code in the kernel.org Linux kernel code? If so specifically what is the SCO-owned code that you now say is in the Linux kernel?

> However, SCO is still concerned that there is no mechanism in place in the Linux community to address what gets added to the kernel, and the periphery of the kernel, to make sure that there is no proprietary software being included.

MozillaQuest Magazine: "software" is an un-acceptably vague term. Do you mean code or binaries? Do you mean kernel code, library code, shell code, OS code, utilities, applications, or what? Please be clear and specific. :-)

MozillaQuest Magazine: "periphery of the kernel" is an un-acceptably vague term. You need to be more specific. Outside the kernel there are many layers -- system call, system C library, the command line interface (CLI) shell, standard internal Unix utilities the OS, applications, external utilities, etc. Please be more specific and please see --

MozillaQuest Magazine: Are you guessing here?

MozillaQuest Magazine: I am somewhat familiar with the process by which code gets added to the kernel.org Linux kernel and I have discussed this particular issue with the kernel.org people. There are measures in place designed to prevent proprietary code from getting into the kernel.org kernel.

MozillaQuest Magazine: Who in the "Linux community" does SCO say should be responsible for policing the whatever you mean by "software" to see that proprietary code is not included?

MozillaQuest Magazine: The Linux kernel and the GNU/Linux operating system are open source and open development. SCO-Caldera has the opportunity to see the code for not only "released" Linux kernel and GNU/Linux OS code but also for that code in its pre-release development. If SCO-Caldera is concerned about SCO-owned code getting into the Linux Kernel and/or the GNU/Linux operating system, why does SCO-Caldera not check that code itself?

MozillaQuest Magazine: Has SCO-Caldera checked to see if any SCO-owned code is in the Linux Kernel and/or the GNU/Linux operating system code?

MozillaQuest Magazine: If so, has SCO-Caldera found any SCO-owned code in the Linux Kernel and/or the GNU/Linux operating system code?

MozillaQuest Magazine: If so, has SCO-Caldera informed kernel.org, gnu.org, and/or anyone else of any SCO-owned code that is in the Linux Kernel and/or the GNU/Linux operating system code?

MozillaQuest Magazine: If so, who and when? What was the response from any such people and organizations?

> Yes, Linus and Alan Cox and others control what gets added to the kernel, but how do they know that what is being contributed is not proprietary? SCO would still like to see this get resolved in some way at some point."

MozillaQuest Magazine: Again, are you guessing here?

MozillaQuest Magazine: Is SCO-Caldera now trying to tell the kernel.org people how they should go about Linux kernel development?

MozillaQuest Magazine: Is SCO-Caldera now trying to tell the gnu.org people how they should go about GNU/Linux development?

MozillaQuest Magazine: Is SCO-Caldera now trying to tell the Linux distribution providers how they should go about Linux distribution development?

MozillaQuest Magazine: Just whom is SCO-Caldera saying should do just what?

MozillaQuest Magazine: Isn't SCO-Caldera really stretching here? Last week Chris Sontag said there is no SCO-owned code in the kernel.org Linux kernel. Now, you come along and try to negate that previous and clear statement and try to suggest that there might be "tainted" code in the kernel.org Linux kernel code.

MozillaQuest Magazine: Isn't SCO-Caldera really stretching here? Your statements/questions strongly suggest that you have little clue as to how the kernel.org goes about developing the Linux kernel -- yet you now want the kernel.org people to subject themselves to SCO-Caldera's supervision of the kernel.org Linux kernel development process.

> I think that this is an important point to include in the article. I don't think that the Linux community can rest easy about the kernel . . .

MozillaQuest Magazine: The issues that you raise here are very important. However, I do not think they constitute a correction. Rather, I think we will do a follow-up story about this. :-)


Please see the first two parts of our series about SCO-Caldera's IP claims plus its intentions to enforce and license its intellectual property rights.

SCO-Caldera & the GNU/Linux Community: The SCOsource IP Matter

SCO-Caldera & the GNU/Linux Community: Part 2, Under the Iceberg's Tip



Resources


Follow the Patents, People, Don Marti, Linux Journal News Notes 6 March 2003.

SCO: Unix code copied into Linux, Stephen Shankland, CNET News.com, May 1, 2003

Linux Buzz: SCO to Reveal Allegedly Copied Code, Don Marti, Linux Journal, 15 May 2003

Microsoft licenses a SCO patent? What patent?, Don Marti, Linux Journal, 19 May 2003


The linux-kernel mailing list FAQ

Linux and the GNU Project, By Richard Stallman


UNIX is a registered trademark of The Open Group in the United States and other countries

Related MozillaQuest Articles


SCO-Caldera v IBM:


SCO-Caldera & the GNU/Linux Community: The SCOsource IP Matter

SCO-Caldera & the GNU/Linux Community: Part 2, Under the Iceberg's Tip

About the "Hey SCO, sue me" Petition


Caldera OpenLinux 3.1.1 Available

Caldera OpenLinux Workstation 3.1 -- A First Look


UnitedLinux, a Divisive Weapon for Caldera's Darl McBride -- Part I

UnitedLinux, a Divisive Weapon for Caldera's Darl McBride -- Part II

SCO's Darl McBride and MozillaQuest Magazine's Mike Angelo Discuss Caldera Linux and LSB

Caldera/SCO 3.1.1 OpenLinux Distribution Gains LSB Certification


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